My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

See Ya!

Last night, Josh umpired two softball games. I didn't go watch. I was SO tired. I closed Monday night and I close again tonight. This morning, I asked him how it went. He said he had to kick a guy out. For those of you who know Josh, it takes A LOT to get kicked out of a game by Josh. He is so level-headed and not a lot gets to him. I try not to let it get to me, too.

I grew up with a dad who coached baseball. Parents of baseball players are brutal. I saw and heard it all - and it wasn't always nice. I would cry and cry and cry when people would say things about my dad. Josh coaches football and wrestling. Wrestling parents are great, at least ours are. I have never had an issue with one of our parents. Football can be tricky. At Layton home games, you can count on all of the wives being lined up in camping chairs in the north end zone - as far away from the bleachers (and parents) as possible.

When it comes to Josh umpiring, things are VERY rough. People argue calls, they tell him to get some glasses, they tell him to open his eyes, they tell him to learn the game... it goes on and on and on. I hold my tongue most of the time. When our children are there, it is VERY hard. They hear it and it breaks them. I think every single one of them has been emotionally upset by comments at least once. Colton can't handle it at all and I have to walk away with him.

Last night, the moron was swearing the entire game and repeatedly asked Josh if he was going to make a call. Finally, Josh said, "I just did and she's safe." Then he said, "See ya!" The other team asked Josh if he needed an escort. LOL. Josh said, "Do I look like I need an escort?!" :)

I am not biased when it comes to sports. I have no problem telling Josh if I think he made a bad call. He doesn't make bad calls. He is so, extremely talented. Plus, he's handsome as heck. He does a great job coaching, umpiring and playing. I'm his biggest fan.

Just a reminder - be careful what you say out loud. You never know if the person's family is sitting near you. If you have a problem with an umpire, or a coach, speak to them in a private manner. Be respectful. Remember that we are all human. But, don't blurt things out. You never know if a wife or a child might be sitting nearby.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fake It Til Ya Make It

Recently, I started working a second job. It is at night and on the weekends. A lot of times, I go to work at my full-time job, then go right to my part-time job and get home between 11 and 11:30 at night.

My husband works a full-time job, is a "part-time" coach, and umpires. He also donates plasma twice a week. He leaves at 6:30 in the morning, and sometimes doesn't get home until midnight.

I talked to my Martha today. She was worried about us individually, and our family as a whole. She listened without judging. She was understanding and compassionate, without making me feel like a complete whackadoodle. She suggested I call and talk to the Bishop. She said she would put our names on the prayer roll at the Temple.

This picture is me on my way to work on Saturday - all day long. I kept telling myself to fake it til I make it. Everyone has their struggles. Everyone has their trials. This is ours. We work five jobs and still can barely (and I mean BARELY) put food on the table. But, we are doing the best we know how to do. We pay our tithing. We have gotten rid of cable. We don't splurge on food. We pack our kids' lunches. We have cars that barely run (and I mean BARELY). And, we are willing to work for everything we have. We are trying. We are a team and we are trying.

I am grateful for the school clothes our families bought the kids. I am grateful for the food Martha and Derek gave us from their pantry and their garden. I am grateful for the free haircut Martha gave Jackson. I am grateful for the health insurance we have. I am grateful that I was able to get a part-time job. I am grateful that Josh is able to donate plasma. I am grateful for the umpiring calls he does get. I am grateful for the shoes and coats my kids have. I am grateful that are cars do run. I am most grateful that we have knowledge of the Gospel, and knowledge that this isn't all for nothing. I am also grateful for my Martha.

Monday, September 28, 2015

LHS Homecoming 2015

Jackson asked America to go to Homecoming with him. She said yes. They went with Ishmael and Leslie and Alex and Ailene. Dinner was served at our house. I worked all day, so Josh did all of the preparation. He made spaghetti, corn, rolls, green salad, and homemade German chocolate cake. It was so fun to listen to them out on our deck laughing and talking.

The other kids were a huge help. Braxton cleared the deck, and put twinkling lights out. Kaydon put the rolls out to rise. Colton vacuumed. It was so nice to have everyone help so that Josh wasn't so stressed out.

The girls looked beautiful (and modest!) and the boys looked dashing. I'm so glad that they had a great time!

Friday, September 25, 2015

It Aint Mayberry

Dearest Dirt Bag-

This morning, you thought you would try to take from us. You messed with the wrong family. See, we've been through a thing or two. We are not made of sticks or straw. We are built brick upon brick. Our home might be made of wood, but it's not going to blow down from people like you who think you can huff and puff and take from us. We are built upon a solid foundation. We work hard. We don't have very much, but what we do have is each other and you - nor anyone else - can take that from us.

We have taught our children about right and wrong. We have taught them about people like you, who think you can live your life by taking from others. We have taught our children that if they want something, they have to WORK for it. We have taught them that taking from others is wrong. We discipline our children for doing what you tried to do this morning. It might not happen today, and it might not happen tomorrow - but your consequences will come. I wonder how people like you can sleep at night, knowing that you are not only breaking the law, but breaking people's trust, people's sense of safety, and people's sense of freedom. How dare you! How dare you come onto our property and try to take from us! How dare you make our children feel uneasy and unsafe! How dare you make my husband worry even more about his family! How dare you scare our autistic son and make him start his day feeling like he is in a storm! How dare you think that you don't have to go out and work for what you need! How dare you think that what you are doing is acceptable! It's not. Shame on you for thinking that you are entitled to what other people have.

One more thing, Mr. Dirt Bag - allow me to remind you what I remind my children of all of the time. Just because you don't think anyone saw you, just because you don't think anyone caught you - our Heavenly Father is always watching. He knows. If you need something, ask. If you need something so badly that you think you need to take, knock on a door and ask. The answer might not be yes, but at least you're going about it the right away. I'm pretty sure McDonalds is hiring. Walmart is hiring. Several places are looking for seasonal help. Go and make something of your life. Be the person you were meant to be. Work hard. It will make you feel good about yourself!

I was reminded this morning that I don't live in Mayberry! Doors and windows will be locked at all times now. Thank you for that reminder. It aint Mayberry, but it's my home where my family lives, where we are sheltered from the evils of the world, where we learn and grow and laugh and cry and sleep and eat and play and wrestle and study and pray. It's my Mayberry and you can't take that away from us.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To The Rescue

I looked outside the other night to check to make sure Colton was still in our yard (that's a full-time job!) and I saw Joshua in the tree. I asked Colton and Brooklyn what the heck Dad was doing in the tree. They were quick to tell me that he was rescuing two balls (both of which DAD through up in the tree!!!). The kids are so funny.

The kids pretty much think Josh is a super hero. He runs faster than all of them, he climbs trees, he can put them all in a pretzel in no time, and he even cooks really, really good. Not to mention, he puts up with me which is its own super hero power!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Big Yellow Thing

Since I started my job, I have wanted to drive one of the big yellow things! I have also wanted to help pave, rake, mill, pick up garbage cans, be a snow-plower, mow the lawns... the list goes on and on and on. Needless to say, they have not let me do a dang thing. For some weird reason, my boss says, "It wouldn't be safe." Whatever.

Today was my big chance! They are getting ready to lay concrete in our parking lot. A couple of the big yellow things (I really don't know any of their names) were in our parking lot. I might have begged for upwards of an hour and a half, just saying. Finally! Finally they said I could get in the small yellow thing.. they told me it's called a mini-excavator. As soon as I got in it, I was terrified.

There are levers and buttons and things every where. They had all the workers move back -- WAAAAAAYYYYY back. Then, one guy was assigned to stay close to me and explain how to do things. Poor guy. I picked up a big piece of asphalt and moved it to the pile. It may have taken upwards of 10 minutes to do that one thing, but I did it. Then the nice guy (Greg) asked me what I wanted to do next. I said, "I want to get out!!!"

That was my experience with the big yellow thing. The end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Steak and Softball

Yesterday was our Division Fall Social at work. I ordered 45 pounds of ribeye steaks, eight caeser salads, five huge fruit trays, seven dozen rolls, way too many brownies, potato salad, and soda. Josh took the day off to help me. He is the best. Seriously, the best. We showed up early to the park, Josh and two other guys began grilling the homemade grill (which is SO awesome), and I started setting up for 75 people. That 75 people includes four women and the rest men. That equals A LOT of food!

After everyone had full tummies, Josh started the softball game. It was SO much fun to watch! It was Josh's team against Perry (my boss's) team. Josh scored the winning run for his team. Perry has not been happy since! He is demanding a re-match!

I really do love my job. It is challenging and new everyday and hard and frustrating, but I am getting the hang of it. I am learning and trying. It has been good for me. My husband, as always, is so supportive and for that I am so grateful!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sweet Dreams

I took this picture outside of my bedroom window on Wednesday night. I am in awe of the beauty that is around us. Every time I look out of our windows, I am so sad that we only have until June in this house. I know Heavenly Father has big things in mind for our family and that we will be taken care of.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Broken Patience

We had a huge rainstorm yesterday. Apparently, the roof in my office didn't like it so well. I had a huge leak in my office. The nice guy came and fixed it. Thanks, Nice Guy.
These pictures remind me of a nice little "family chat" Josh and I had with Kaydon and Colton on Tuesday night. Josh went downstairs after everyone was in bed to talk to Colton about things Colton had stolen from a drawer in our room. (we have had repeated problems with Colton stealing) Suddenly, I hear full-on yelling. It was Kaydon and Josh. I went downstairs - half asleep - to see what was happening. Kaydon was fired up. He was scowling, laying in bed - folding his arms tightly, and mad as heck. Josh was now talking to Colton about stealing, having wrappers all over their room, and having his dirty clothes covering the floor. First, I asked Kaydon what the problem was. He said, "I hate Dad." I said, "awesome!" Josh looked at him with the most heart-broken look I've ever seen on his face. "Why do you hate me, Kaydon?" "Because you yell all the time!!!" Josh: "Why do I yell, Kaydon?" "Because you like to!" I interjected. I don't remember everything that I said in that room on that night, but I felt strongly that I was being guided. The four of us were in that bedroom for quite some time, and Jackson had come out of his room and was standing out in the hallway. Josh stood against the dresser, speaking now and then. Colton and Kaydon were on their beds. There were tears. What I do remember saying was this: "We are a family. It's perfectly fine for us to day, 'I hate when Dad yells,' or 'I hate when Mom isn't patient,' or 'I hate that I don't get enough time with you guys,' but it is NEVER okay to say, "I hate dad," or "I hate Mom." I asked Kaydon how he would have felt if Josh would have said, "I hate you Kaydon." Kaydon cried more and said that that would have been the worst feeling.

Satan is working on families in every single way possible. Our "blended" family is especially fun for him. We don't use the word blended, or combined, or step. We are a family of seven. Period. Sometimes we use words we shouldn't like, "shut up," "stupid," and "hate." Those words are small, little ways that Satan pokes holes in our family. Every Monday, we have Family Home Evening. They last no more than 30 minutes. That is a way that we try to fortify our family unit so that holes are tougher to make. Sometimes, there is name calling in our home, or fighting over games, or fighting over food, or fighting over toys. Those fights poke holes in our family. Every night at dinner, we pray as a family. Those prayers, no matter how long or short, help to protect our family from holes. Sometimes, our family doesn't communicate as well as we should. Sometimes, we raise our voices. Sometimes, we forget to tell each other important details. Sometimes, we give each other the silent treatment. Sometimes, we take our frustrations, fears, anxieties, and anger out on each other because that seems to be the best place to do it. But, there are also times when our kids come in and ask us to pray with them, they ask for a blessing, they ask for one-on-one time with Dad, they pour their hearts out to us, they want to watch a silly show on TV with us in our room, they want to go to the gas station with Dad to get a soda...

We have leaks in our family all the time. They can turn into huge floods if we don't take care of them right away. We are doing our best every day. Some days are a whole lot better than others. Some days we have to say, "Tomorrow is a new day. We'll try again." Some days are great. Regardless, we all have leaks in our families. I am so grateful for the Gospel, which teaches us to patch them, teaches us to fortify so that we can prevent leaks, and teaches us of the Atonement so that we can try again. I love my family!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Strike Three - You're Out

This boy was in Insta Care AGAIN last week. He fell, while at Mutual. Weird! His elbow is injured AGAIN. His growth plate is injured AGAIN. He's in a sling for a third time. Josh has now grounded him from everything but chess, computer games and Xbox. This boy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grandpa Nef Time

I love this picture so much. My kids have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. I was really, really upset when my Grandpa and Grandma Robb passed away right after Jackson was born. I realized that my children would never have the opportunity to spend time with them, to get to know them, and to love them the way that I love them. We have been so fortunate because my kids have had the chance to spend time with my Grandpa and Grandma Nef, who live in California. We have gone to Fresno a couple of times to visit, and they have made several trips to Utah. Each time they come, my kids get so excited. Brooklyn especially. My grandpa is a gem. He is so affectionate, so kind, so loving. He loves to just hug on and love on his family members! Jackson and Braxton were sitting on the couch and Grandpa came over, sat right in between them, and put each of his hands on each of their knees. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said. They spent time with Grandpa, in silence, and in love.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Church Day

Church day is a crazy day. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be. It's hard to get a family to church. It's hard to get a family to sit still during church. It's hard, as a tired mom, to keep my eyes open throughout church. It's hard to not have my 44 ounce Diet Coke sitting on my lap during church. But, church day is so worth it.

Yesterday, Colton passed the Sacrament for the very first time. I was so nervous, so worried. He kept turning around and looking at me with the most nervous look on his face. Before I got to church, the boys showed him his very own route. He goes down the side and then gets right in line. He was so proud of himself! He just smiled so big! I cried and cried (tears of sheer joy!) I am so thankful for those who have made accommodations so that Colton can participate in an ordinance that he fully understands and believes in.

Then, there's Primary. I teach Primary. Josh teaches Sunday School. I have some little rascals in my class (who I love and adore!) After sharing time, we walk to our class. Josh sits on the couch that we pass so that I can let him know if I need him during class time. Yesterday was a big YES! During sharing time, two of my little rascals got to be sung to for their upcoming birthdays!
Then, Brooklyn was the spotlight! She has been asking and asking when her turn would come. She was so excited that it was finally here. It was very cute.
Then it was class time. Josh saw the look on my face and jumped right up to round up the little chinchillas. He sat on the floor to try to referee the front row vs. the back row. They know that Josh always have treats. Getting through a lesson is near impossible, but those kiddos know that we love them and they know that they are cared about and that is all that matters.

Friday, September 11, 2015

On Fire

Tuesday morning, while I was getting ready for work, Josh knocked on our sliding glass door. He pointed to the fire behind our house. At that time, it was still dark and so you could easily see the flames in the dark of the night. We didn't know at that time what had happened, or what would happen later in the day, but it was surreal to see our back yard on fire. As the day went on, the smoke went away - until I was on my way home. The smoke was spreading. It was powerful and scary. When I turned on our street to get home, there were hundreds and hundreds of cars lined up on both sides to get a picture. I was so frustrated. It took me forever to get to my home to my children. Our quiet corner of the world had been jolted. When I got home, I went out to the deck and could feel the immense heat from the fire that had not only started up again, but had also spread to triple its original size. Josh called to check on us and I told him to come right home. I wasn't sure if the police were going to evacuate us or ask us to stay in our houses. Ash was falling everywhere. Everywhere. Cars and strangers were everywhere, trying to get into our back yard, trying to take pictures, trying to see what they could. It was awful.
Our family knelt in prayer in our living room. We prayed for those fighting the fire - in the air and on the ground, that they would be protected, for the winds to be calm, and for the temperatures to cool. We prayed for comfort and peace. Our family watched through the night as brave men and women fought the fire(s) to protect our homes, our animals, and our families. They didn't give in and they didn't give up. The next morning - Wednesday morning - we woke up to a beautiful morning, free of smoke and flames.
I have always had a deep respect for those who put their lives on the line to protect us. However, this experience took that to a whole new level. I watched them, in my back yard, unselfishly risking their lives to protect mine. I am so grateful for them and for their families.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Canning - Almost Done!

On Saturday, I was able to finish up the canning - for now. The peaches are done and the grape juice is done. I am so thankful for the juice steamer that my grandparents bought me. It made the juicing process so much easier! The juice is delicious!!!
On Saturday night, I made some yummy apple enchiladas with our apple pie filling. The house smelled so good!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Christensen Reunion 2015

I really, really love Josh's extended family. I adore his aunts and his cousins! A pavilion at Cherry Hills was reserved for Monday (Labor Day)and they planned a potluck lunch. We had never been to Cherry Hill, so we decided the least expensive way to enjoy it was to purchase adventure passes (which exclude the water activities). I think it worked out pretty well. We played a round of miniature golf, went through the maze a few times, rock climbed, did some nerf blaster wars, and the kiddos (and Dad) did the aero ball.

We got to enjoy a yummy lunch with the family, too. It was a beautiful day! The weather was perfect! It wasn't too warm and the skies were blue. It was such a fun time!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Draft

We had our fantasy football draft over the weekend. I have been researching for a couple of weeks now so that my draft would be epic! Then, I pulled number 10. NUMBER 10!!! I had the TENTH pick. My life sucks!!!!!!

All in all, I did pretty good. I am projected to be 4th this year. I'll show them!